Research published in the British medical journal The Lancet shows that brain injury patients who were presumed to be in a vegetative state can still hear and respond to stimuli. The study used EEG to look at the brain function in 16 brain injury victims. The victims were asked to imagine wiggling their toe or squeezing their hand. Three of the presumed vegetative patients were repeatedly able to respond to commands.

This study follows up previous work that showed communication was possible with vegetative patients using fMRI, which monitors activity in the brain, but is limited for many patients because metal plates or pins in the brain prevent it. EEGs, however, are cheap, portable, and relatively easy to use, so they can be taken to victims in nursing homes around the country, and allow for some level of communication with brain injured patients. It also gives hope that some day patients who are presumed vegetative may be able to regain some autonomy with brain-operated prosthetics.

Misdiagnosis of brain injury is unfortunately common, and using tools of this nature can hopefully help doctors to appropriately treat brain injury victims.

If you have a loved one who suffered serious brain injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation. To learn more about your rights and those of your loved one after a brain injury, please contact the Columbus personal injury attorneys at Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free case evaluation.